The Best Mangas To Read Of All Time

Many Western readers understand the term “manga” to simply mean “Japanese comic books,” but manga has a much longer history dating back to the 12th century. While the Western literary canon was largely limited to prose-centric novels until the rise of comics in the 1930s, Japanese storytellers have long recognized the power of combining pictures and words.

However, if you’re new to manga, the sheer volume of available stories can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best mangas to read of all time. Click here to find popular manga series to read.


  1. One Piece
  • One Piece, the best-selling manga series of all time, kicks things off strong. This long-running, epic manga series, first published in July 1997, follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy, a boy who eats a Devil Fruit by accident and gains the properties of rubber. Luffy travels the world with the Straw Hat Pirates in search of the fabled “One Piece,” a treasure that will allow him to become the next King of the Pirates. One Piece embraces all the wild adventure and off-the-wall mania that only the best manga can deliver, with characters such as a skeletal musician, an anthropomorphized reindeer doctor (yes, really), and the usual assortment of thieves, liars, and warlords.

  1. Naruto
  • Naruto is the well-known story of one boy’s quest to become the heroic leader of his village, based on Chinese mythology and the history of Japanese ninja warriors. Naruto is followed throughout his adolescence as he discovers the unusual truth about his birth and trains to become a ninja. Naruto, brimming with imagination, adventure, and, don’t forget, friendship, has become the go-to coming-of-age read that has captured the imaginations of more than 250 million fans worldwide.


  1. Vagabond
  • Vagabond, a thrilling martial arts manga that has been running since 1998, is loosely based on the real life of a swordsman from the 1600s (but has been on a very extended hiatus since 2015). Following their escape from the Battle of Sekigahara, young Takez and Matahachi seek refuge and vow to become “Invincible Under the Heavens.” Their plans are complicated, however, when their assailants track them down and separate the boys. Takez embarks on a perilous, winding path that will eventually lead him to become the renowned sword master Miyamoto Musashi.


  1. Inuyasha
  • Takahashi Rumiko, a manga legend, knocked it out of the park with this epic, time-travelling, demon-fighting adventure. She tells the story of Kagome, a young girl who falls down a well and into feudal Japan — where she discovers that her destiny is linked to a dog-like half demon named Inuyasha, and a powerful jewel that she’s unknowingly brought into this world. The adventure that follows necessitates powerful magic, strange allies, and a strong heart, but Takahashi manages to sprinkle the story with her trademark touches of humor.


  1. Death Note
  • What if you had the ability to inflict ultimate justice on anyone in the world — with no apparent consequences or way of tracing it back to you?
  • That is the perilous situation in which Light Yagami finds himself in Death Note. Light is a teen who discovers a mysterious notebook with the power to kill anyone whose name appears in its pages. His intentions are noble as he embarks on a quest to rid the world of criminal activity, but things quickly become complicated. Light will soon be pursued by an elite police task force. Can he keep his freedom, or will someone else’s interpretation of justice catch up with him first?